Monthly Archives: November 2016

Monday Motivator – November 28

I think it was Elton Trueblood who said the Church was “the company of the committed.” He wrote and argued that the Church needed to be cherished, criticized, nourished, and reformed. Elton believed the Church of Jesus with all its blemishes, its divisions, and its failures, remains our best hope of spiritual reality. He maintained that however poor it is, life without is worse.

Read Acts 2:42-47.

I believe the Church of Jesus is the hope of the world. That means that those of us in the church have a responsibility. We are expected to learn and obey the teachings of Jesus in order to honor Him as our Lord. We are required to follow His mandate to take his message to all the nations and make disciples of whomever responds.

That also means we have a responsibility to one another. We are supposed to be dependant on each other, because together we are dependant on Christ Himself, whose body the Church is. In Jesus and in the Church there is strength. The strength essentially comes from Jesus, but it also comes from the strength we give to each other.

The reality is we do not all have the same strength. The apostle Paul said in Romans 12:4-5, that, “For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individual members one of another.”

As a Christian then, our relationships with and to other believers is to be characterized by the call, clarity, and power of Jesus and the apostle’s teaching. The following verses from the New Testament Book of Romans should reflect our daily contacts with other Christians. Hear, read, study, memorize, meditate, pray, and act on these “one another” Scriptures.

Romans 12:5, You are members of one another.

Romans 12:9, Be genuine with one another.

Romans 12:10, Be devoted to one another. Honor one another.

Romans 12:16, Live in harmony with one another.

Romans 13:8, Owe love to one another.

Romans 14:13, Don’t be a stumbling block to one another. Do not judge one another.

Romans 14:19, Build up one another in love.

Romans 15:5, Be of the same mind toward one another.

Romans 15:7, Welcome and receive one another.

Romans 15:14, Admonish one another.

Romans 16:16, Greet one another.

Join me in a prayer that we should repeat and practice: “Lord, we are your people under your care. Yet we are also your representatives here on campus. Help us to be drawn closer both to you and to brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to you, so that together, we may worship you, reflect your character, and be your faithful witnesses. Amen.”

Live communally. Use the passage in Acts and the Romans verses to assess the quality of relationships you have in your life and in your Chi Alpha chapter. How does your Christian experience match up with the call of Jesus and the apostle Paul? How can you improve it?

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – November 21

What seems impossible in your relationship with God today?

I have heard and seen the responses of many parents to their children’s experience of faith in Jesus that develops while they are in college. Sadly, a lot of parents are threatened by the reality of a transformtional encounter their kids have while involved with campus ministries like Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.

Young men and women hear the holy Scriptures taught in Chi Alpha settings with clarity, conviction, and Holy Spirit power and come face to face with Jesus. They see and hear humility, authenticity, transparency, confession, forgiveness, along with truth and grace in various relational contexts and are stirred to find out how Jesus compels His people to live that way. They see sacrificial love, justice, and service modeled by Christ-followers and recognize these are elements of a Kingdom they have not before encountered.

Christian parents often react with skepticism, cynicism, even hostility to the faith deepening experience of their college-age kids. Many are fearful, or even threatened when their children come home to say they are planning to use their spring break or part of their summer break to do mission work somewhere around the United States or even overseas.

After all, some of these parents do not want their kids getting “too radical” with matters of faith. Some have told their children not to get too serious about that “Bible stuff,” because the Bible is full of myths, you know. I mean, come on, the Bible was not meant to be followed and lived out…like they are teaching you in that…wait for it…that cult-like group called Chi Alpha.

I have met some of these parents over the last three-plus decades of campus ministry. A few that call themselves “Christians” have actually laughed at the idea of their son or daughter describing a call to be holy, reach their dorm for Christ, set themselves aside to be sexually pure before their wedding day, and even believe God is calling them to serve Him in full-time ministry after graduation. I have heard parents say things they later regretted to their kids, because they realized their child was an adult capable of making their own decisions, and living with the consequences. They also realized how their lack of faith looked in comparison to their kid(s).

I have known hundreds of college students who believe they are encountering the Creator of All and want to be respected for it. But it is often hard for others to handle the faith experience of a friend or family member at times due to the subjective nature of these encounters.

Read Genesis 18:1-15 and 21:1-7.

It happened to a 90 year old Jewish women named Sarah when the Lord said she and her husband Abraham, age 99, would have a son. The text described how Sarah laughed at the prospect of her bearing a child. A year later, just as God promised, Sarah gave birth to Isaac.

Think theologically. When the Lord gives us a seemingly impossible promise through His Word about who we can be or do for Him, we may initially react in stunned disbelief. But by His power and grace, He can also transform our doubts (and that of others) into appropriate laughter (or better…joy) and amazement. Like Sarah learned, there is nothing impossible for God.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – November 14

One of my favorite letters in the New Testament is the apostle Peter’s first. He was a fisherman who surprised and disappointed Jesus, and even deserted Him when He was arrested and later crucified. Yet due to the resurrection of His Master and the reality of the open and empty tomb, Peter became a Holy Spirit empowered witness of Jesus.

He wrote 1 Peter into a context when a great fire broke out in Rome in A.D. 64, and Roman emperor Nero blamed the Christians. Up to that first century moment, followers of Jesus had barely been a tolerated sect of Judaism, which was legal under Roman law. Now Christians would be judged as separate from Judaism and declared enemies of the Empire. Torrents of persecution erupted against the people of the Way and Peter wrote to give them hope in the midst of great suffering and oppression. His hope was the letter would be circulated throughout the Roman provinces that now make up modern day Turkey.

Read 1 Peter 1:1-12.

Now I am going to use the same text as it appears in The Message, a translation created by Eugene Peterson. I have taken out the verse numbers and section headings to help you “see and hear it” as cleanly as possible. Read and reflect on the first twelve verses of 1st Peter.

I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiah’s Spirit let them in on some of it—that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when. All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves—through the Holy Spirit—the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!

Grow devotionally. If you feel like a “stranger in the world,” or hear the Spirit’s call for forgiveness and holiness, or need God’s shielding power, these twelve verses can help you. Learn from our friends in first century Rome how to cultivate hope in Jesus in tough times.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monday Motivator – November 7

I was passing out gospel literature at the main traffic crossing on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA, as people crossed from one side of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus to another. It was a few days before classes started, and I was enjoying making eye contact, smiling, and praying and hoping for divine contacts at the busy intersection.

A mother and father and several of their children came across the street and asked me, “Are you Mike Olejarz?” “Why yes,” I replied. They answered, “We just came from dropping off our daughter at the University of Illinois, where she participates in the Chi Alpha chapter there. Dave Short, the director of Chi Alpha heard us say we were going to MIT next to drop off our son Tony, and he said we should look to meet up with Mike O, the Chi Alpha director there.”

God had set up a divine appointment where we met on the sidewalk of a busy intersection. Isn’t He good? Tony was entering MIT as a freshman computer science major and was a quiet, young man. But he and I met a few days later and I was pleased to hear about Tony’s vision to grow his faith, get to know Jesus better, and be a witness for Jesus at MIT.

We worked to launch a small group for students we met at the student activities fair and did follow-up to meet students who came to other Chi Alpha sponsored activities. Tony invited many of his friends, and Liz started joining us. She was from a Christian family that lived in the greater Minneapolis, MN area. She was a quiet, young lady, but had a relationship with Jesus that was authentic and transformational.

Read Matthew 28:19-20.

Jesus gave His church a commission before He left. This mandate was given on at least three separate occasions after His resurrection (Matthew 28:19-20, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8). If Jesus took the time to repeat Himself, don’t you think we should acknowledge what He said was important and worth paying attention to?

The commission has been called “great” because of its scope, “all nations.” The task is focused on “making disciples of Jesus,” the culmination of all Jesus taught. After His resurrection, He sent His disciples (and the rest of us) out to continue the process. It was the final thing Jesus said, therefore it is “great” in importance, as last words are often lasting words.

Reaching the world can be achieved in one manner by reaching those who are being prepared and trained for leadership in tomorrow’s world, namely college students. Reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus will take men and women who have a heart for people. It will take men and women committed to make the words of Jesus the focus of their lives. These men and women have to reach, root, equip and send out others as we pray and ask the Father to send them out. Need I mention that we who pray such prayers should be willing to be the answers to our own prayer?

Tony and Liz were fishers of men and women at MIT. They embraced the task of making disciples of all nations while they were college students. They lived out the commission!

Serve globally. Let’s do the great commission of Jesus on our campuses and in the marketplace.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2016 by Mike Olejarz

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized